Pressing questions on PMDs need to be answered

A man rides a personal mobility device (PMD) along Holland Road. Several MPs have already raised questions and comments about PMDs and their use.
A man rides a personal mobility device (PMD) along Holland Road. Several MPs have already raised questions and comments about PMDs and their use. PHOTO: ST FILE

Several MPs have raised pertinent and valid questions and comments about personal mobility devices (PMDs) (Town councils can ban PMD use at void decks: Lam Pin Min, May 8).

However, the replies to these questions seem to show a lack of insight and a confused regulatory system of law enforcement on the use of PMDs as a means of transport.

Whether town councils are given the flexibility to enforce their own rules on PMDs is not a major consideration.

There are far more pressing questions, which include:

•How are PMDs classified as a form of transportation compared with other vehicles on the roads?

•What certification do PMD users need to prove that they are safe users?

•How may PMDs be safely used by more than one person, and how much extra load can a user carry?

•How effective are law enforcement efforts to catch errant PMD users?

The force and impact from PMDs, even when used at a low speed, have proved to be crippling, if not lethal, to pedestrians. Yet PMDs do not share the same safety measures and code of use as other vehicles on the roads.

What the elderly and children need is not more advice from the Land Transport Authority to be more alert in order to avoid accidents with PMDs.

What they need is realistic consideration given to their slower reflexes and reaction time.

How can one stay alert to the presence of PMDs when they can approach from virtually every direction?

The exponential increase in accidents involving PMDs over the years is troubling proof that law enforcement has fallen short in the prevention of accidents involving PMDs. Compensation for accidents is a poor substitute for prevention of accidents.

The lives and limbs of pedestrians and even motorists will remain at risk until we find ways to solve these issues.

Ho Ting Fei (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'Pressing questions on PMDs need to be answered'. Print Edition | Subscribe